Journalism students experience rabies control in action

For the last few months, the GARC Philippines team has been working with a group of Development Communications students from the University of the Philippines Los Baños. The students were invited to document the Communities Against Rabies Exposure (CARE) projects in Ilocos Norte and Sorsogon.

The students accompanied the barangay health workers and vaccination teams to remote villages to vaccinate dogs. Here they observed rabies control in practice and interviewed traditional healers (Tandoks), teachers, children and community members about their experiences of rabies and the rabies control programmes.

The opportunity allowed the students to learn the technicalities and practices of journalism, and consider the ethics of interviewing. It also provided them with an experience of the culture in these more remote areas of the Philippines and a deeper understanding of the need for rabies control and the projects themselves. 

Marilou Ofiana, a professor and coordinator of a district scientific study program, shared stories about how her students participated in rabies lessons and applied them outside the classroom.

Summing up her visit in a testimonial, Ariana Alcala said: “This fieldwork will be one of the most memorable for me because it let me see how collective action of community members can make a big difference… Moreover, their success stories gave me hope that if Ilocos Norte can be a Rabies-free region, our community can also be.”

The students are currently finalising their articles and video documentaries, so look out for more stories coming out of this collaboration in the next newsletter.

Submitted by Louise Taylor, GARC Scientific Director